It’s tough being Franklin Graham these days. Not only have the gays infiltrated every facet of American life, rolling like a colorful and fabulous tidal wave across this great land and gaining more acceptance and understanding with each new passing day, but they’ve even insinuated themselves into Graham’s beloved faith. Speaking yesterday with Craig James of the Family Research Council — the organization that up until two weeks ago was partially headed-up by Christian zealot and confessed child enthusiast Josh Duggar — the less cuddly son of famed Central Casting preacher Billy Graham bemoaned the inclusion of gay worshippers by an increasing number of congregations throughout the country. “What’s happening is we are seeing in churches, where churches are accepting gay and lesbian couples who are living in sin, living the gay lifestyle, not repenting and the church is letting them in,” said a defiant Graham. “This is so dangerous and it is going to destroy our church in this country if this continues.”
Now certainly the thought of gay people legitimately destroying the Christian church is a delicious irony given how hard the Christian church has worked throughout history to destroy gay people, but unfortunately Graham’s lament serves as nothing more than the usual apocalyptic alarmism directed at the ever-fearful faithful. In Graham’s worldview, our planet is always one RuPaul’s Drag Race marathon away from the return of a vengeful Jesus, who will descend from heaven dressed in flowing white robes and riding a winged horse, not looking at all gay. “I believe we are in the midnight hour as far as God’s clock is concerned or we may be in the last minutes, but of those last minutes it may be another hundred years, I don’t know,” says Graham. “But when you see how quickly our country is deteriorating, how quickly the world is deteriorating morally, especially under this administration, we have seen that it has just taken a nosedive off of the moral diving board into the cesspool of humanity.”
But none of this even touches on the very best thing to come out of yesterday’s Family Research Council extrava-Graham-za. The good pastor also took a few minutes to crow about his ongoing crusade against businesses that supposedly promote the gay agenda — in particular, his recent decision to stop doing business with Wells Fargo bank. Graham says that, because Wells Fargo is currently running an ad that features a lesbian couple trying to learn sign language so they can communicate with a deaf child they’re adopting, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will pull all its money out of that bank and move it to Wells Fargo’s competitor, the North Carolina-based BB&T bank. While acknowledging the existence of completely unremarkable gay people in advertisements is a relatively new thing, a decade or so ago Graham’s boycotting of a business that so much as tolerated LGBT patrons would be nothing more than the story of one more bigoted asshole keeping an already oppressed minority down. Now, though — well, Graham may be about to learn just how in the minority he is these days.
See, he should’ve done his homework before transferring all his money over to BB&T. Maybe that bank hasn’t yet included a gay couple in one of its ads, but as it turns out, behind the scenes BB&T is a huge supporter of LGBT causes to the point where it’s received an 80% rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. BB&T is not only one of the sponsors of this year’s Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade — an event that’s so gay it can fire a giant penis-shaped beam, Avengers-style, up into the sky to let gay aliens in through two portals that look like vaginas rubbing together — it’s also the top sponsor of the Miami Beach Gay Pride “Legacy Couples” program, which honors same-sex couples that have been in long-term relationships. As Right Wing Watch reports, a spokesman for BB&T says the company works to “support the individuals and organizations that broaden our perspectives and strengthen the diverse fabric of our communities.” In other words, BB&T is, yes, proud to be a supporter of LGBT causes — and Franklin Graham just moved his money from a bank that showed a couple of lesbians on TV to one that actually hosted a same-sex couples wedding reception earlier this year on South Beach.
Granted, all of this will only add fuel to the big fantasy of Christian persecution Graham and others like him love to proclaim is a real thing. But it goes without saying that somebody simply living their life is only an unconscionable offense to someone not in any way involved if that latter person believes certain behavior angers the vengeful creator who must at all times be appeased for the good of us all. It’s as if the Bible were written not by bronze-age shepherds who pretty much knew nothing about anything but instead as a practical joke by H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not a fan of Christianity but I’m willing to acknowledge that it can only be a good thing if absolute faith is finally giving way — even just a little — to the relatively modern reality some of us have been living in for a long time. The one that sees gay people as just — people. And, thankfully, people who now have a hell of a lot more cultural and financial cachet than some asshole preacher who still doesn’t realize there are far fewer of him in the world than there are the rest of us.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.